The Western Pennsylvania Platform Tennis Association (WPPTA) oversees league paddle in Pittsburgh with 16 clubs represented across 7 divisions of play. Each division has 10 teams that play home/away matches for an 18-week season. Team matches consist of 4 individual lines being played with scoring being done by the total percentage of sets won. At the end of the season, the 1st place team from the lower division challenges the 10th place team from the division above to see if there is any movement, the same goes for the team finishing 9th vs. 2nd, and 8th vs. 3rd. In division 1, the top 7 teams compete in a playoff to declare a league champion.
The top players in Pittsburgh battle each other in division 1 every week, but the league has been dominated by 2 teams over the past few years. North Park 1 and Upper St. Clair 1 have finished in the top 2 spots over the past 3 seasons, with both teams always winning over 70% of their sets, something no other club has accomplished during that timespan. Upper St. Clair has won 2 of the last 3 playoffs though in 2012 and 2010, while North Park took home the championship in 2011. This season looks to be no different, through 3 weeks of play North Park sits atop the standings having won 100% of their sets, and Upper St. Clair is in 2nd place with 96%. The North Park squad is led by tournament players Jeff McMaster, Matt Riva, Mike Wagner, Tom Wiese, and Jim Welker while Upper St. Clair boasts a lineup that includes tournament players Brett Engelsberg, Ajay Khurana, John Nichols, Dan Hersh, Tyler Noland, and Walt Willoughby. All eyes will be on the 1st regular season encounter between these 2 teams in a few weeks on November 20. Teams from Mt. Lebanon 1 (79%), Edgeworth (72%) and Mt. Lebanon 2 (72%) round out the top 5 throgh the 1st 3 weeks of play.
After having no teams from division 2 challenge up to division 1 for 5+ years, the division 2 champion has defeated the last place team in division 1 the past 2 seasons. This year, it looks to be relatively competitive early on, as the top 5 teams are closely bunched together. Mt. Lebanon 3 (63%) leads the way, but Edgeworth 2 (58%), Fox Chapel Racquet Club (58%), Sewickley YMCA (56%), and St. Clair Country Club (52%) are all within striking distance. Next week has Fox Chapel Racquet Club playing Sewickley YMCA in a match between current top 4 teams.
Things are off to a top-heavy start in division 3, as teams from Upper St. Clair 2 (100%), Allegheny Country Club (84%) and Mt. Lebanon 5 (76%) have separated themselves from the group. However, sometimes early season scheduling creates wider margins than really exist. So, as we make our way through the season we’ll have to keep an eye on these 3 teams to see if they will maintain their positions and have the opportunity to challenge their way into division 2.
Division 4 is currently lead by Sewickley YMCA 4 (68%), division 5 has Fox Chapel Racquet Club 3 (89%) at the top, and Shannopin Country Club (80%) heads division 6. Division 7 in the WPPTA is seen as a “developmental league” that allows players easier access to the sport. This season, 15 teams are participating in 3 sub-divisions of 5 teams, with the top teams having the chance to move up to division 6 at the conclusion of the season.